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Let the bidding begin: Dick Cheney's writing a book with 'a few scores to settle'

January 12, 2009 |  5:38 pm
The 1902 desk of President Theodore Roosevelt used by many presidents and vice presidents over the years and signed by each before leaving office

Oh-oh.

Yes, yes, Dick Cheney was a wrestler in school, like his buddy Donald Rumsfeld. And wrestlers going out there on the mat to grapple aggressively and viciously for six long minutes with opponents are rarely shy about confrontations.

However, most everybody pictured Vice President Cheney next week heading out of Dodge after the inauguration and virtually four decades of inside government experience -- and fishing, enjoying Wyoming, family, six grandchildren, hunting, all that.

He will.

But Cheney, the silent sly one who's words were mostly saved for the ears of the president, just told Sean Hannity today that he's seriously considering writing a book.

"I never have," Cheney said. "and my family has been bugging me about it. I've got 40 years since I came  to town to stay 12 months. I've got a lot of stories to tell. And a few scores to settle."

And he laughed. "I'm going out with a good heart," Cheney added. "It's been a tremendous experience.  It's been great serving with this president. And I think we did some good work. And I do look forward to family time, and a little more time on the stream and out in the fields. But I don't plan to retire yet."

Cheney, a Nebraska native who grew up in Wyoming and represented that state for five House terms, arrived in Washington in 1969, began work in the Nixon administration and became chief of staff for President Gerald Ford. In 1989 he became secretary of Defense for Bush I and oversaw two of the larger military operations in modern times -- in Panama and the first Gulf War.

These next few days will be Cheney's fourth presidential transition, after the Nixon resignation, the Carter inauguration of 1977, Clinton in 1993 and now 2009. The stories he might tell.

Cheney also told Hannity:

He's been in the government/political business long enough to know you rarely get credit for what doesn't happen. But he worries the longer the nation goes after 2001.

"I think the thing that I sense most is that as we get farther and farther away from 9/11, we've got more and more people sort of taking it all for granted, getting pretty complacent about the world we live in, and lose sight of the fact that there are some very bad actors out there still trying hard to find ways to kill more Americans."

He said like most Americans he wishes President-elect Obama well starting with next week's inauguration, but as a conservative, he expects to have major differences over time with a liberal Democrat.

In 1996, Cheney seriously considered running for the Republican nomination eventually won by Bob Dole, who lost to Bill Clinton. But he decided against it then and forever more. Which Cheney thinks helped him be a more effective vice president because everyone knew he had no agenda but President Bush's.

Of course, that situation also left the Republican Party with no experienced and well-known political heir-apparent now and for some time to come.

The book, on the other hand, will be Cheney's alone.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: David Bohrer / The White House (Dick Cheney's new signature in the 1902 desk of President Theodore Roosevelt used by many presidents and vice presidents over the years and signed by each before leaving office).

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